New reserve for New Milton Sand and Ballast
NEW Milton Sand and Ballast (NMSB) have recently won planning permission to extract sand and gravel from a 17ha site at Downton Manor Farm, Milford on Sea, in Hampshire, following a tortuous planning journey.
The decision was the culmination of a prolonged and rigorous process that commenced on 10 August 2004, when the planning application was first submitted to Hampshire County Council.
There then followed a refusal, an appeal, which was also refused, two public inquiries, the first of which was in 2007, followed by a subsequent High Court challenge, and another appeal in 2009, which was successful.
Hampshire County Council fought against the application arguing that there was no need for the mineral in the county, preferring instead for supply to continue from existing quarries and further arguing that gravel should not be dug from the greenbelt.
In addition, two local pressure groups argued in favour of the county's objections and said the development would harm tourism and the local economy, and blight the lives of residents of Milford on Sea.
However, the planning inspector found in favour of the planning application at the 2009 Public Inquiry, based on:
- the deficiency in Hampshire's landbank
- the reduction in HGV movements compared to alternative supplies
- the need to maintain a competitive market with reserves split between more than two operators
- and the need to allow NMSB to dig the minerals so that they could be used to beneficiate recycled aggregates to permit their increased use in ready-mixed concrete as an alternative to primary aggregates.
The inspector further concluded that the site could be worked without causing harm to the local community, its economy or tourism, and that as the permission was time-limited and, therefore, temporary, it was acceptable development for greenbelt land because it had no lasting effect.
Trevor Poole, joint managing director of NMSB, commented: ‘A key aspect towards the success of this planning application was need, based on sustainability grounds. We were able to clearly demonstrate our green credentials and win the battle against vociferous objection.'